Bellator attempts its second Dynamite show, this time in their second home of St. Louis. The card features the return of Rampage, the debut of a former UFC heavyweight contender and a lightweight title along with the trademark kickboxing of the Dynamite brand.
What: Bellator 157: Dynamite 2
Where: Scottrade Center, St. Louis, Missouri
When: Friday, the preliminary card starts at 6:15 p.m. ET on MMA Fighting. The six-fight main card starts on Spike TV at 8 .m. ET.
Neither Rampage nor Ishii have looked particularly great recently, but Jackson's issue is decline from greatness. Ishii's is never getting there. I don't believe Rampage packs quite the same power he once did, but it's probably still enough to get the job done. His takedown defense should be more than enough. Combine that with his left hook and rear uppercut and that's enough to stop or keep Ishii at bay.
Putting aside Chandler's previous victory over Freire, I wonder if the Brazilian is a bit shopworn at this point. Both Pitbull brothers have taken tremendous damage over the years, but Patricky a little more so. I'm not saying this isn't winnable for him or that he isn't tough and talented. What I am saying is Chandler - in virtually every dimension - is faster and, frankly, better. The American will have the edge in speed, the ability to mix up his offense as necessary and apply consistent pressure. Pitbull has a big punch and is game even when things go south, but this is Chandler's fight to lose.
Seumanutafa is a middling heavyweight who has beaten decent names, but generally loses to those with respectable ability. He only fights about one or two times a year. We have to respect that, but that doesn't mean we have to group him in the same category as Mitrione. The former UFC heavyweight contender is older now, but should still have the reach, timing and power to land first on Seumanutafa, enough to stop him early or put him away with strikes within a few minutes.
(Kickboxing) Kevin Ross vs. Justin Houghton
Ross is an absolutely excellent kickboxer and I can't say this is a whole lot more than a showcase fight. There's nothing wrong with that, necessarily, but it doesn't give me much hope for Houghton's chances.
(Kickboxing) Denise Kielholtz vs. Gloria Peritore
This might be a beating. Kielholtz is an excellent Dutch kickboxer with a trademark Dutch style. She's fast, explosive, powerful and always on the attack. She presses forward, has excellent low kicks at the end of combinations and can cover distance quickly with her punches. Peritore is well schooled, but lacks the refinement or athleticism to keep pace for very long. I expect Kielholtz to cruise here.
Ilima-Lei Macfarlane vs. Rebecca Ruth
This is a harder fight to call. Macfarlane, for those who don't know, is the woman from the viral Xplode Fight Series video who stops what appears to be another woman who showed up for a Zumba class in 10 seconds in a fight. That doesn't tell us much about her ability. On the other hand, she has shown flashes of finesse with combination punching or reactive guard work on the floor.
I struggled with this pick because her opponent, Ruth, has all sorts of technical problems. She charges forward and locks to exchange - feet planted - at boxing range. This is a recipe to get knocked out, if not in this fight, then eventually. She is able to paste over these deficiencies, however, through raw aggression and what appears to be a great chin. Ruth also has great takedown defense and is a decent scrambler. Macfarlane can steal a win here, but I wonder if the offensive pressure of Ruth will be too much.